I was tempted to write this as a recipe, take a tablespoon of history and add a dash of fiction, heat while stirring, that sort of stuff.
But then I thought that might trivialise what is a wonderful thing and I’ve come to enjoy creating so much. I started writing other genres and still do – alternative history, thrillers, even a crime novel, albeit somewhat different in that the crime happened, conviction and all, some thirty years earlier (Life, the first in a new series, should be out later this year). Then I visited my cousin, the best-selling author, James Oswald (https://jamesoswald.co.uk) and he suggested writing a series and writing about a locality I knew well.
Brilliant advice! Thank you, James.
My choice was Dorset and the series became the Dorset Chronicles. Being historical fiction, I could also choose a period and I went for the tail end of the 17thCentury.
Why the end when so much happened in the middle? The killing of a king is about as momentous as it gets, isn’t it? Ask the French, although in truth we got there first.
The answer is, I believe the late 17thCentury is a totally underappreciated period. It’s when we set up a constitutional monarchy, it’s the last time we fought a battle in England (we have to wait for Culloden to say the same of the whole of Britain). It’s when we created the Bank of England, when the Royal Society really started flourishing, Isaac Newton was in his element and this period marginally predates the union that created, for better or worse, Great Britain.
It’s when we started looking outward rather than inward. It’s when our modern nation came about.
But I digress. The reason for this post was to rant about the beauty of historical fiction, whether written by me or some other bod. It’s the wonderful combination of fact and fiction that boosts a story, adding spice and adventure to the actual events. And because the actual events are often thrilling in themselves, you get a crescendo of action and suspense, while also staying (somewhat) true to history.
For more of my own brand of historical fiction, please go to https://chrisoswaldbooks.com/books/